John Tavares scores 300, Maple Leafs beat Devils
NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — John Tavares scored twice and hit the 300-goal mark in the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 4-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Thursday night.
Defenseman Ron Hainsey also scored in Toronto’s three-goal first period and third-string goaltender Michael Hutchinson made 27 saves. Mitch Marner added an empty-net goal.
Blake Coleman and Brian Boyle scored in a 26-second span for the Devils late in the second period to get New Jersey within a goal. Keith Kinkaid made 39 saves, including two on Tavares that prevented his hat trick and 30th goal of the season.
Acquired from Florida on Dec. 29, Hutchinson made his fourth straight start with Frederik Anderson and Garret Sparks out with injuries.
CAPITALS 4, BRUINS 2
BOSTON (AP) — Nicklas Backstrom scored in the third period after missing a game with an illness, helping Washington beat Boston for the 14th straight time.
Backstrom ripped a left-circle wrister past Jaroslav Halak for the go-ahead goal with 14:14 remaining.
Alex Ovechkin scored his NHL-leading 31st and 32nd goals, and also had the highlight hit of the game when he sent Zdeno Chara — the NHL’s tallest player ever at 6-foot-9 — flipping head over heels into the Capitals’ bench on a shove late in the first period.
Braden Holtby made 39 saves, improving to 12-0-0 against Boston during the Capitals’ streak, and 16-2 in his career against the Bruins. Jakub Vrana also had a goal for Washington.
Ryan Donato and David Krejci scored for Boston.
LIGHTNING 3, HURRICANES 1
TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Brayden Point had a tiebreaking power-play goal in the third period and added a late empty-netter in NHL-leading Tampa Bay’s comeback victory over Carolina.
After Point scored from in-close with 3:15 left, he got his 28th goal into the empty net during the final minute. Ondrej Palat also scored, and Andrei Vasilevskiy made 26 saves. Point also had an assist. The Lightning, 17-1-1 over the last 19 games, tied a team mark with their ninth consecutive home win.
Justin Williams picked up his 300th NHL goal for the Hurricanes, who had a five-game winning streak end. Petr Mzarek 27 stopped shots.
ISLANDERS 4, RANGERS 3
NEW YORK (AP) — Josh Bailey scored with 1:26 remaining to lift the New York Islanders over the Rangers 4-3 at Madison Square Garden.
Cal Clutterbuck found Bailey cutting to the back post, and he beat Henrik Lundqvist to help the Islanders improve to 13-2-0 in the last 15 meetings between the Big Apple rivals.
Matt Barzal had a goal and two assists, and Robin Lehner made 27 saves. Jordan Eberle and Anders Lee also scored for the Islanders, and Johnny Boychuk had two assists.
Ryan Strome, Kevin Shattenkirk and Jesper Fast scored for the Rangers. They dropped their fifth straight to open 2019.
BLUE JACKETS 4, PREDATORS 3, OT
COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Artemi Panarin scored his second goal of the night 1:22 into overtime to lift Columbus past Nashville.
Panarin won it on a 4-on-3 power play. Boone Jenner also had two goals, and Zach Werenski had a pair of assists for the Blue Jackets in the 600th career coaching win for John Tortorella.
Joonas Korpisalo had 32 saves for Columbus. He got the start because Sergei Bobrovsky was scratched because of an unspecified “incident,” according to the team, with no clear idea of when the Vezina Trophy-winner might be back. Mattias Ekholm had a goal and an assist, and Nick Bonino and Viktor Arvidsson also scored in the third period for the Predators.
FLYERS 2, STARS 1
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Carter Hart stopped 37 shots and Philadelphia beat Dallas to end an eight-game losing streak.
James van Riemsdyk had a goal and an assist, and Travis Konecny also scored for Philadelphia. Jamie Benn scored for Dallas. Tyler Seguin had an assist to extend his points streak to seven games. He has at least one point in every contest since he and Benn were harshly criticized by CEO Jim Lites on Dec. 28.